The Other Bears by Michael Thompson

The Other Bears by Michael Thompson (Star Bright Books, October 2013) is a simple tale of prejudice being overcome by friendship, except this is a somewhat silly picture book about bears!

The koala bear family (who technically are not bears at all but marsupials) are busy enjoying their day at the beach when other families arrive.

First comes the panda bear family, with Chinese dress and food. Then there is the polar bear family (with snow shoes and coats) and the black bear family (with American parade regalia). Finally, the brown bear family (with German/European outfits) and the sun bear family (with Southeast Asian clothes) join the crowd on the beach.Continue Reading

Pig and Small by Alex Latimer

It’s always fun when picture books play on words to get your attention.

When my son first started reading Pig and Small by Alex Latimer (Peachtree, August 2014), he commented, “The author should have called this book Big and Small because Pig is big and the bug is small! They are opposites.”

He really liked this story about friendship. The two friends were quite different, and at first they decided they could not be friends because they were too different. The pencil illustrations are playful, with plenty of amusing mishaps when they try to do certain things together, such as playing ball (Bug didn’t like that one) and playing hide-and-seek (Pig was not a fan of that one).

A change of heart helps them see how they could be friends. Raisin was very pleased to find that the two creatures could compromise, and we all loved the twist at the end! Pig and Small was a book the kids definitely enjoyed rereading!

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.


Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong

A 1959 Newbery Honor book, Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong is a simple story of unlikely friendship. Most of the action is between animals; therefore, there is little dialog. But despite the slower pace to the story, the author creates a moving tale of friendship and support that I really enjoyed reading.

On a small farm, the little red hen, the only poultry survivor of an attack the previous year, has lost her toes during the cold winter. She therefore cannot grip on to the ramp out of the chicken house, and the other chickens, out of instinct, want to peck her to death. The farmer is beside himself, wondering how he will keep her safe, because he has developed affection for the little red hen. As the title of the book indicates, a dog came along and hung out around the barn, unbeknownst to the farmer. Through the summer, the dog and the little red hen work together to remain on the small farm. Continue Reading

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

In The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins, 2012), a mall circus gorilla, Ivan, comes to view his life in captivity differently when a baby elephant, recently kidnapped from her home in Africa, joins the mall circus. With a poignant and distinct voice, The One and Only Ivan was a book that touched me deeply, and I cried with Ivan as I longed for a happy ending! Ivan is about friendship, hope, and forgiveness. In so many ways, Ivan is well deserving of its 2013 Newbery Award.

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